Clark Wins Initial Front Wheel Drive Oval Feature

By Ken de la Bastide

(August 26, 2013) - Marshall Clark Jr. recorded his first career victory in the Front Wheel Drive Oval Division not knowing how close Nick Warner was to snatching it away.

Clark jumped into the lead at the start and was able to pull away Dylan Hoppes, Austin McKinney, Mike Harmon and Jerry Dane as they battled at times three-wide for the second spot.

With Clark opening up a comfortable lead there was plenty of action in the pack for position. Elliott McKinney passed Harmon and Hoppes with Warner following in his tire tracks.

On lap nine, Warner got inside of E. McKinney on the front straight and started to cut into Clark’s lead.

Lap after lap Warner edged closer to Clark and just when it appeared lapped traffic would have an impact, Clark was able to hold on to win by a half-second over Warner.

“I didn’t know he was there,” Clark said of Warner in the Tim Thompson Nationwide Insurance winner’s circle. “I’m glad he raced me clean.”

There was plenty of action in the two heat races for the division with three-wide racing the normal and not the exception.

Clark recorded his third win in the first heat with a nifty move to slip inside coming off the second corner with Paul Phipps and Warner battling for second.

Warner passed Phipps coming off the fourth corner on the second lap and again chased Clark to the checkers.

E. McKinney made a late charge passing and Dane and A. McKinney to claim the fourth position with Dane settling for fifth.

The caution flag waved before the first lap could be completed when Hoppes, Cody Riley and JD Blankenship battled three wide for the point and tangled.

Blakenship took the lead on the restart chased by Jesse Thomas, David Powell, Hoppes and Tim Nickerson.

Thomas took the lead on the fourth lap with an outside pass in turn three and Hoppes around Blankenship on the front straight.

Hoppes got inside of Thomas on the front straight with two laps remaining to record his second heat win of the year. Nickerson passed both Blankenship and Thomas over the final five laps to finish second.

Thomas, Blankenship and Powell rounded out the top five.